Greetings Caniacs! I am not sure about you but I really thought the CBA negotiations were coming to an end last week. Ha! I guess the joke was on me. This is, after all, the National Hockey League. The same league that locked out in the 90’s as well as in 2004. As this lockout continues to add days to disgruntled fans calendars, it appears the NHL is digging in once again.
As of now, there are not any meetings scheduled between the NHL and the NHLPA. Which can only mean one thing for sure and that is more games cancelled? Isn’t this lock out about the all mighty dollar? I will answer that for you, yes it is. Throughout the negotiations it has been about Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) and player contract lengths. Neither party wants to look soft or appear as if they are giving into the other party’s demands. Pride is doing just as much damage to the sport as is greed.
What is frustrating about the current state we are all in is the fact that these negotiations could have begun in the early summer. However a majority of owners and players wanted nothing to do with that. Why you ask? Again it goes back to what this is all about….the money. Owners, specifically small market owners such as Minnesota, Nashville and yes you’re Carolina Hurricanes wanted to sign free agents to long term deals knowing that those contracts would not be paid in full with a new CBA in place. Coincidentally, these three teams would fall under the NHLPA’s proposal of HRR and getting assistance from the league to compete with the larger market teams. Throughout the league players and owners were taking advantage of the September 15th deadline of the previous CBA and signing long term contracts.
The Players thought they were signing these contracts for security, whereas the owners were signing these players with the intention of the contracts being discounted based on their HRR proposal. This leads us to the current “make whole” proposal that got the party’s talking again last week. After 4 days of negotiations most who were involved were cautiously optimistic, until last Friday. This is when Hockey fans got slapped in the face yet again. Now the owners want to know how much the NHLPA is willing to financially absorb (relating to the current amount of games that have been missed this year). Confused? You should be due to the fact that the owners are the ones who locked the players out and demand that the league operates under a new CBA.
In 2004 the players lost an entire season due to a work stoppage, 8 years later we are in a similar situation. Some of those players’ careers ended due to taking a year off. The same may happen this year if a deal does not get done soon. The players that were involved with lockout of 2004 have to ask themselves” was it really worth it”?